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26c3


Joël Mercier
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Nicknamed Spicy White by Devin Thomas, this steel is either a White #1'ish with a pinch of chrome and slightly higher in manganese or a Blue #1'ish without the tungsten. More importantly, it is supposedly as clean as the Japanese steel.

I just ordered 18 pounds of it so I'm wondering if anyone here has worked with the steel. Either way, I'm going to do some test coupons of forged and stock removal for grain "analysis" and do some hardness tests on my new old machine. 

AKS recommends 1475°f with 10mins hold. 

Edited by Joël Mercier
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Oh well, Larrin just released test results on this steel.

https://knifesteelnerds.com/2019/08/12/how-to-heat-treat-26c3-steel/

Here's the numbers to remember. 

1475°f 10 minutes hold, quench in parks50 or equivalent.

Recommended 300-350°f temper for around 63-65hrc! Maximum temp is 450°f(for 61hrc). Above that, the toughness decreases due to tempered martensite embritlement. However, others steels like 52100 offer better toughness at this hardness level so 26c3 shines the most at very high hardness, just like White#1. 

Edited by Joël Mercier
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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally had the time to test both my kiln and a 26c3 coupon. I followed the recipe and ended up with pretty much exactly what was advertised. Tested between 67 and 68hrc as quenched. The grain is super small.

Edit: forgot to mention 82.5 on the 30N scale equals roughly 66hrc. And my machine reads an average of 2hrc below the actual hardness of my test blocks. 

IMG_20190831_104606.jpg

IMG_20190831_104949.jpg

Edited by Joël Mercier
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I am not familiar with this steel.  Alpha says it is good for producing a hamon and Larrin's site says it was used for razors.   While I understand that, generally speaking, you can use almost any type of blade steel for almost any typed of blade design/use (assuming appropriate heat treating), what type of design/knife-use would be most appropriate for this steel? 

Joël, what beautiful blade are you thinking of making with this steel?

 

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Any knife that benefits from a very fine edge. Razors and kitchen knives mostly. Like Larrin mentioned in his post, this steel has lower thoughness than 52100 at 61hrc and below. Though you can see in the graph it has the same toughness at 63hrc than O1 or 1095 at 59hrc. So I wouldn't go below 63, otherwise I'd just use W2 or 80CrV2 instead. 

One of the things I wanted to try with this steel is making true Kata Ha blades. Forge weld 1/8" mild steel on one side of a 26c3 1/16" bar to make a Ni Mai billet. 

Screenshot_20180725-073259.png

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Joël, thanks for the info.  A kata-ha blade should be a fun project.  Preventing/controlling the warp should be fun as well:unsure:.  Ni Mai billets, when they warp, does the high carbon steel get a concave warp, or does the mild side develop a concave warp?

That steel looks like one I'll eventually have to add to my list.... those are some pretty impressive specs you are getting.

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... traditionally hammer it straight cold... accompanied by some single malt to calm the nerves!  Is it hammered after tempering?  I can't imagine tap, tap, tapping a warp out of a just quenched blade - that narrow window where some people fix warps right after a quench before the blade cools too much is a thing to make me cringe - haven't done it, wouldn't want to try.

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Yeah, I'll have do to some experiments-_-. They hammer the steel cold on a stump to straighten it if I remember well. Luckily, I might get access to a power hammer soon to make a few billets. I'll probably do some San Mai as well. 

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The one time I saw it done, the smith quenched it, showed us the warp, then heated it to around 300 degrees (hot enough to make water skitter off, he said), then gently tapped it back straight on a stump.  That blade was W2 and wrought iron.

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